From WSU’s Football Field, the First Lady Tackles Mentoring


For the second time in less than a month, an Obama was on the schedule at a college football field in Michigan.

About three weeks after her husband addressed graduates at The Big House in Ann Arbor, Michelle Obama quarterbacked a high-profile morning at Wayne State University’s Adams Field.

The president addressed students receiving college diplomas while the first lady hoped to inspire the mentoring of young students so that they’ll make it into the world of higher education or adult careers.

With about 10,500 high-school students in the crowd, it was appropriate that the scene took on the aura of a pep rally.

The Martin Luther King Jr. Senior High School marching band played in the stands. A uniformed color guard provided synchronized flags.

The first lady’s stop in Detroit was the kickoff of a White House tour designed to spotlight leadership and mentoring. She arrived with a celebrity-studded entourage that included filmmaker Spike Lee.

Mrs. Obama took the podium wearing a tea-length dress in hot pink — an appropriate color for the sweltering day.

“I am here because I know something that I want everyone in America to know — that there is a brighter, better future ahead for Detroit, for Michigan, for America,” she said.

After 20 minutes, and against a backdrop of feverish cheering, she told the young people: “You are the ones that we have been waiting for.”

It was a day for upbeat oratory. Following are some outtakes:

“Just because I grew up poor doesn’t mean I had poor dreams. No excuses.” — Earvin “Magic” Johnson

“If you work hard, there’s no substitute for that.” — Jim Vella, President Ford Motor Co. Fund

“Go get your education … but you need to come back and help us rebuild this city.” — Detroit Mayor Dave Bing

And from Mrs. Obama:

“Keep focusing on your education, that is your job, not video games, not shooting hoops.”

“My husband wasn’t born president … his life could have taken any turn.”

“Few things worth achieving happen in an instant.”